Vastu principles of design were important in determining locations and layouts of the house; owners and architect collaborated at every stage. The house was a typical split-level that had never been renovated before. As with most split-levels, it was built economically and appeared similar to those around it. Half stairs separated the levels, yet seemed to interrupt the flow of the layout, although it was convenient to go up only a short flight to the bedrooms.
The original design here was unoriginal, with a living room and dining room on the main level alongside a separate area for the kitchen. Going down a few stairs led to the laundry room and then a garage, making the house feel more like a maze for the new owners than a place to call home. It needed a transformation from mid-century to modern.
Keeping in mind the Vastu design principles, we wanted to give the couple a home that felt uniquely theirs while still maintaining the positive aspects a split-level home offers. Working with the inherent structure gave us the ideas for distinctive designs we wouldn’t have come up with if we were starting a new house instead of renovating.
While we were able to maintain the foundation, some of the walls and roof, the rest had to be gutted. However, the remaining essential elements made it possible for us to open up the main level into a lofty space. We moved the garage to construct a much more usable space for the lower level and opened up the staircase in a dramatic way to create a profound new sense of connection throughout the home. Stepping down to the lower level no longer felt like entering a basement (with another basement below that); instead, we created meaningful spatial relationships.It was in many ways better than building something new.
In less than a year and a half from design phase to move-in, this mid-century modern house provided another and better level of living, honoring the character of the home, yet unique to the owners. The couple now loves entertaining long-term visitors from India and have put the lower level guest room to good use during these visits. They are delighted with the custom design and the comfort and harmony they can now offer to family and friends.
Renovating this house that lacked a distinctive look and purpose gave it a sense of connectedness and peace that truly made the house into a home.